If you feel that the work you do is undervalued, then you're not alone. More than 8 out of 10 American workers feel they're underpaid, a report from the jobs site Indeed found.
Don't settle for less. Here are eight steps to feel confident -- so you'll go in there, land that raise and watch your bank account swell.
1. Look put together
You don't need to wear something ultra stuffy or overly formal when you it's time to have "the talk" with the boss, but you do need to dress neatly and comfortably.
Make sure you look like a professional who respects the workplace and deserves to be paid more. This could be an excuse to do some clothes shopping, but it's for a very good cause.
In a 2018 survey from the staffing firm OfficeTeam, 80% of managers said how you dress for your job affects your ability to get ahead at work.
2. Don't focus on how long you've worked there
Make sure that you indeed deserve a raise — and sorry, but length of time on the job doesn't count. Whether you're actually valuable to the company is what's important.
Do you have a diverse set of transferable skills? How much does the company stand to lose if they had to replace you?
Starting the negotiation by boasting about your seniority can be counterproductive, so focus on your accomplishments instead.
3. Point out real accomplishments
If you can point to real accomplishments, you will be in a much better position to negotiate the raise you deserve.
Demonstrate your value to the company using concrete examples. These can be situations like any great newcomers you helped recruit, the times you've taken the lead on projects or work initiatives, or times where you've saved the company money.
Demonstrating your long-term commitment (and results!) will help tip the scales in your favor. Want more MoneyWise? Sign up for our weekly email newsletter.
4. Do some research on average salaries
Be sure to do your homework before you walk into the boss's office and request a raise. You may feel you're not being paid what you're worth, but you need to make certain the market agrees with you.
Resources such as Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics can provide valuable information on average salaries for your position, and you can use that data to back up your request for a pay raise.
You will also be in a stronger position if the company you work for is profitable — the managers of money-losing businesses are unlikely to hand out raises (at least not without a very good reason).
5. Ask for a performance review
A performance review is like a preamble to asking for a raise; it's a chance for you and your boss to sit down and assess your accomplishments, and for you to demonstrate how you've exceeded expectations.
Make sure your boss knows you want to talk about the value you add to the company.
Letting your boss know your intentions ahead of time can take some of the stress out of asking for a raise.
6. Practice your pitch
Even if you have the data on your side and can demonstrate a long list of accomplishments, asking for a raise can be an intimidating experience. That's why it is so important to practice your sales pitch ahead of time.
The "product" you're pitching is you. Practicing what you will say can help a lot, so ask a trusted friend or family member to help you rehearse.
Have the friend play your boss and give you push-back when you start making your request. Brainstorm certain objections the boss might have, and prepare your answers. Listen to your friend's input, too — it's helpfu to have a second opinion on your pitch.
7. Keep it professional
No matter what happens when you ask for a raise, it's essential not to let the conversation get personal.
While some supervisors will have no objection to you asking for a raise, others may see the request as an affront.
Remain cordial and composed, and avoid getting defensive. The last thing you want is for your boss to feel offended, so keep the conversation professional at all times.
8. Stay positive
Remain upbeat even if your boss refuses the raise, dodges your questions, or gives you any other negative or non-constructive response. If your request is rejected, politely ask "Why?" and really listen to the answer.
It probably goes without saying, but you should never accuse your boss of being cheap or imply that you were lowballed during the hiring process. Not only are these negotiation tactics counterproductive, but they could cost you your job.
When the interview is over, thank your supervisor for their time. If the response was negative, don't fret. Making a polite exit is a good way avoid burning a professional bridge.